“You should have a girl next”

Ever since I returned to China a couple of months ago, baby Z has drawn a lot of attention. Every time we go out we get all sorts of people engaging with us, which is doing wonders for my Chinese. The consensus is that he’s cute, good looking, white, big, chubby, and will be clever. All true 😀 The consensus is also that we should have another baby and that it should be a girl.

We are not considering that yet, but I thought I’d write this post now before I’m actually emotionally involved.

As is widely acknowledged, the pressure to have a baby boy in China is big. Things may have moved on in the last decade or so, but it’s still there. But I also think it’s balanced with an obligatory ‘but if you have a girl, that’s wonderful too’ (with varying degrees of sincerity). I didn’t write about this during my pregnancy with baby Z. We sensed he was a boy from the 3D ultrasound face picture, but I was still verging on anxious about it. My husband may be open-minded about many things, how else would we get on so well, but society had this one ingrained in him. He would have a son. He couldn’t even picture the alternative. Frankly, I was relieved (and thrilled to pieces about my scrumptious baby boy).

Therefore, I think the pressure to have a girl may be bigger, and I can feel it already. From the in-laws, who would now like to have a granddaughter, from neighbours and family friends. And if the 老百姓 on the street are to believed, it should be easy. Because now I’ve got my life’s goal of having a boy out the way, I am now free to have a girl. No worries, have a girl second.

So how to respond to these comments? To most people, including the paediatrician (!) ‘you know we can’t control it, right?’ To my husband, who may sometimes believe things too easily ‘we may one day have two sons’, something he hadn’t imagined. To my mother-in-law, who thought I should have had a girl first because a girl could look after her little brother ‘baby Z may be able to look after a younger sibling someday, who knows what kind of people they will turn out to be’. And to myself ‘I don’t mind, I just hope it’s healthy’.

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12 thoughts on ““You should have a girl next”

  1. So basically, this is another reminder of how the pressure won’t end, even if you get pregnant and have the requisite child (which I still get pressure about sometimes, since we don’t have kids)

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  2. We still have no kids, and live in rural China. The pressure is immense. But they are very backward here. For them it’s simple “You have to have a boy”. I don’t even want to imagine how the reaction of family, friends and neighbors would be if we had a girl. I am always trying to scare them and say “We will have twins, two girls!” xD

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  3. I can see already we have quite a lot of pressure from our friends and family to have a son as our first born. Strangely enough, it also comes from my side of the family since there has been a long string of girls and they want a boy. Derek also always talks about “our son.” I won’t lie, it is quite amusing at times because he will say something like that and people will naturally assume I am in fact pregnant already and that we are expecting a boy which only leads to people asking more questions… It’s funny how the world is!

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  4. Hey hey
    Love reading stories from your family life. It must be a lot noise in your head when you hear these comments from everywhere all the time. I think the occasional comments about me finding a Chinese husband, (because I speak Chinese and then we would be a perfect match of course) is sometimes a lot to handle but you are strong when you just laugh at all these things. And would you please post some more pics of baby z. He must be growing so fast :)))
    Cheers
    Lena

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  5. Pingback: Sisterhood of the World Blogging Awards Q+A and nominees :) | Greece Meets Taiwan

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